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Delaware U-Pick farms implement new safety measures ahead of summer

2017 Delaware Farmers Markets

Delaware’s Dept. of Agriculture expects the state’s U-Pick farms to remain busy this summer despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

That prompted it to issue safety guidelines for these popular destinations.

Ag Department spokesperson Stacey Hofmann said U-Pick farms are popular among tourists heading to Delaware beaches.  She advises calling before making a visit or go somewhere else.

“That is a place that people are just used to stopping and picking up their blueberries and their strawberries on the way to the beaches,” Hofmann said.  “So, the key would be as you’re moving through if there’s a farmers’ market that’s going to be open, pick up there or pick up from your local farmer in your area.”  

Hofmann said most U-Pick farms use reservation systems to manage traffic, but will now need to use directional traffic plans like retail stores do to maintain social distancing.

“The other difference is figuring out how a farmer can direct traffic into the field so that people really aren’t crossing into an area that they are less than six feet apart,” Hofmann said.  “And so, that will take a little bit of a challenge for the farmers to navigate that.  But, once they figure it out, operations will be up and going." 

She added customers must use one-time use, disposable containers supplied by the farms during their visit. 

U-Pick farms are popular among locals and tourists during the summer.  Customers are advised to call ahead to confirm what produce and other items are available at the operations.  Appointments are also encouraged. 

Visitors can get more information about U-Pick farms at the Delaware Grown website.

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